Ricky Nolasco and Dodgers Quickly Blank Boston; Magic Number is 25
Dodgers 2 3 0
Red Sox 0 2 0
WP- Nolasco (10-9)
LP- Lackey (8-11)
S- Jansen (22)
HR- Ramirez (13)
Before the commencement of the game between the first-place Dodgers and first-place Red Sox, Patrick O’Neal interviewed the great Vin Scully to talk about his decision to return to the broadcast booth for the 2014 season. For his 65th season behind the microphone, Scully will be gracing us with his beautiful voice. We may even be lucky enough to hear Vin say “It’s time for Dodger baseball” from Australia next year at Opening Day. No matter the outcome of the game on Friday night, it was a wonderful evening in Dodgertown.
Ricky Nolasco was superb in the two-hit shutout. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Another great thing was that I finally was able to watch the Dodgers on my television for the first time since Sunday. Thanks to the Time Warner Cable vs. CBS debacle, I missed the entire Miami series. Let’s just say I was not too pleased.
Anyhow, we got a great pitching duel between Ricky Nolasco and John Lackey. Ricky Nolasco looked sharper than I have ever seen him pitch as a Dodger since his debut in Arizona. Nolasco pitched 8 shutout innings, and only allowed 2 hits while striking out 6 and walking none on 101 pitches. Nolasco picked up his 10th win on the season, and both pitchers only allowed 5 hits combined. Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth to strike out two and shut the door on the Beaneaters. The quickly paced game only took 2 hours and 7 minutes to play out. This, the Dodgers 18th shutout, is the best in the NL. The difference maker was Hanley Ramirez‘s two-run shot in the fourth inning.
Ricky Nolasco starts off great out of the gate in the top of the first. He quickly retires lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury who grounds out to Juan Uribe at third. Then Shane Victorino is greeted with a well-deserved chorus of boos, and Nolasco strikes him out swinging for the second out! I can go back to booing Victorino, right? Victorino as a Dodger was so wrong. Andre Ethier‘s buddy Dustin Pedroia smacks a single to left field. Luckily Mark Ellis positions himself in the perfect spot in the shift, and Big Papi grounds out to end the inning.
John Lackey retires Carl Crawford as he flies out to center to begin the home half of the first. Yasiel Puig swings away at a slider out of the zone (his usual kryptonite), and he goes down on strikes in his first at-bat. Adrian Gonzalez also strikes out swinging, and the Dodgers go down in order.
Nolasco pitches a very nice 1-2-3 second inning as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, and Stephen Drew are all retired consecutively.
Lackey sends down the Dodgers in order as well in the bottom of the second.
Nolasco strikes out Will Middlebrooks and Lackey to open the third inning. Ellsbury grounds out to Hanley to end the frame.
John Lackey was upset at himself for making the one mistake- the homerun to Hanley in the fourth inning. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Nolasco has now retired seven Boston batters in a row.
The Dodgers go down in order again, and Lackey has now retired nine in a row for three perfect innings.
Victorino strikes out for the second time against Ricky Nolasco in the top of the fourth. Welcome back to Dodger Stadium, Shane! Pedroia grounds out, and David Ortiz flies out.
Carl Crawford leads off the bottom of the fourth with a single for the first Dodger hit of the night. Puig pops out, and Gonzalez lines out to Victorino who makes a good catch in deep right field. With Hanley at-bat, Crawford steals second. Then Hanley proceeds to crush a Lackey fastball over the center field wall for a two-run homerun! That’s Hanley’s 13th homerun of the season, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead!
Ricky Nolasco finds himself in a little bit of trouble in the fifth, but Juan Uribe’s slick fielding bails him out. Nolasco hits Nava in the foot with a pitch with one out. Stephen Drew singles, but Middlebrooks grounds into a inning ending double play! Uribe makes a great throw to second from one knee to start the DP. Uribe sure does have a golden glove.
The Dodgers go down quickly in order for the bottom half of the fifth.
Nolasco keeps on rolling through the sixth inning, and the little fifth inning hiccup is forgotten. He strikes out his fifth batter, Lackey, to lead things off. Ellsbury grounds out, and Victorino is retired for the third time on a fly out.
Crawford goes up the middle with a single to center with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Crawford is 2-for-3 on the night. Puig flies out. With Gonzo at the plate, Crawford steals his second base of the game off Lackey. Gonzo flies out to left to end the inning.
Juan Uribe made quite a few impressive plays in the field. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
We head to the seventh with Nolasco still pitching which will become increasingly sketchy. Nolasco is pitching one of his finest games as a Dodger tonight. He sends the Red Sox down in order, and he strikes out Salty for good measure.
John Lackey is still pitching admirably as well. Neither pitcher has allowed a walk thus far. The Dodgers go down quickly in the bottom of the seventh.
Nolasco pitches another great 1-2-3 inning in the eighth, and the right-hander goes the deepest into a game since wearing Dodger Blue. We salute you tonight, Ricky! Nolasco only allowed 2 hits to the Red Sox all night, and didn’t walk a lone batter.
Lackey pitches another 1-2-3 inning, but he will go out of the game losing thanks to the Hanley homerun. Lackey allowed 2 runs on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks on 97 pitches. Kenley Jansen will come in for the top of the ninth to shut the door on the Red Sox.
Kenley strikes out Mike Carp in typical Kenley fashion. Jacoby Ellsbury strikes out. Vin says that “He’s absolutely amazing. Just one cutter after another.” Victorino pops up to end the game which seems like the right thing to do, Shane.
The Dodgers win! They are now 10 1/2 games up ahead of Arizona in the division. The D-backs lost earlier in the game. The Dodgers are now an incredible 76-52 on the season.
Tomorrow afternoon Hyun-jin Ryu will face Jon Lester in game two.